S. Vijay Kumar and S. Sundar

Train delay due to chain pulling by PMK members to enable Ramadoss to board it

VIRUDHUNAGAR: The departure of the Tuticorin-Chennai Pearl City Superfast Express train was delayed by at least 15 minutes on Sunday night as the Pattali Makkal Katchi cadres allegedly pulled the chain to enable their leader, S. Ramadoss, board the train.

Railway employees here are up in arms as the Madurai Division is likely to take action against the Virudhunagar Railway Traffic Inspector, M. Marisamy.

Mr. Marisamy, was supposed to be in-charge of the station on the day, as the Station Manager was on leave.

However, no official communication had been sent to him in this regard.

According to railway sources, angry party cadres barged into the Station Master's office and sought an explanation on how the train could be allowed to leave the station when the VIP had not boarded it. They warned him that he would be shifted to a remote station. On their part, frontline staff claimed that they were not aware of Dr. Ramadoss' visit. The detention of the train for 15 minutes was recorded as due to "chain pulling."

As the news of likely action against the official leaked, the divisional office-bearers of Southern Railway Mazdoor Union registered their protest with the officials.

Union secretary R. Kesavan said the railway staff had only acted as per rules.

"The train reached the station with over 20 minutes delay. As the railway staff were not aware that the leader was there to board the train, it was allowed to chug off after two minutes of scheduled halt," he said.

Emergency meeting

The All India Station Masters' Association (Madurai Division) president, V.S. Natarajan, convened an emergency meeting on Monday.

The members expressed concern at the move to transfer the official.

"It appears that the Station Manager may be transferred. We have decided to launch an agitation if any action is taken against the officials as they were at no fault," joint secretary S. Ponnu Kumaran said.

Unauthorised entry

The AISMA functionaries claimed that the presence of around 250 PMK cadres in the station was "unauthorised" as they had not purchased platform tickets.

They entered through the trolley path into platform No. 1. Political party cadres often entered stations to receive/send off their leaders without purchasing platform tickets, they said.